Gilad Shalit crosses border into Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, October 18, 2011

Gilad Shalit has set foot on Israeli soil for the first time since June 25 2006.

The IDF confirmed that the soldier had been taken across the border from Egypt into Israel. He was handed over to the Egyptian authorities by Hamas early this morning as part of a prisoner exchange deal.

The first of the 477 prisoners who are being released today have been exchanged. A further 550 are to be freed within the next two months.

Video footage of the handover showed Sergeant Shalit, now 25, looking thin but walking without support and wearing a black cap.

He is to be taken to an army base near the crossing to speak to his family on the phone and undergo an initial medical examination, before being transferred to the Tel Nof Air Force base to be reunited with his family.

According to BBC reporter Jon Donnison, Palestinians at the Rafah crossing have been chanting: "We want a new Shalit".

Last updated: 9:27am, October 18 2011